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January 31, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

What are the most influential Enlightenment thinkers

The six most influential thinkers and authors during the Enlightenment and on the history of Western philosophy and culture (I’m excluding Plato, Aristotle, and the Bible, which are all influential on the period itself and Western civilization, because the Enlightenment was later in time).

Most Influential Enlightenment Thinkers and Writers in Philosophy/Epistemology:

  • Rene Descartes–founder of enlightenment philosophy

Most Influential Enlightenment Thinkers and Writers in Science:

  • Francis Bacon–founder of enlightenment science

Most Influential Enlightenment Thinkers and Writers in Politics, Political Philosophy, & Liberalism:

  • John Locke–founder of the social contract which gave rise to the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution
  • The Federalist Papers by the Federalist–gave rise to our US Constitution and the American structure of government
  • The Founders of America–gave rise to the US Constitution and founding of the American structure of government

Most Influential Enlightenment Thinkers and Writers in in Economics & Capitalism

  • Adam Smith–gave rise to the philosophical justification for capitalism and free trade.

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